Tag Archives: Words

Funk and Wagnalls: A standard for the 20th century

  The comedy variety show “Laugh-In” in the late 1960s and early 1970s popularized the catchphrase “Look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls!” The show featured rapid-fire skits and one-liners, and the F&W line, used as a snappy rejoinder … Continue reading

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Decluttering speech and writing

A radio announcer, reporting the first Atlantic hurricane of the season, concluded with this statement: “Hurricane Danny currently does not pose any threat to land.” If I were proofreading this sentence I would change it to “Hurricane Danny poses no … Continue reading

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Webster’s New World — Redefining the world

One of my favorite dictionaries recently refreshed itself. “Webster’s New World College Dictionary,” Fifth Edition, published a few months ago, is the latest in an outstanding line of reference books that began in 1941 in Cleveland. World Publishing, which was … Continue reading

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I’m not OK with OK

Published July 18, 2006 Every time I play my mandolin, I’m enchanted with its rich, ringing tone. It’s a superb instrument, eclipsing instruments thrice its price. Although I never tire of its sound, I tire of repeating myself when lauding … Continue reading

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Happy to meet, sorry to part: the ritual of good-bye

Published Nov. 17, 2003 “It’s enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people’s. Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, gentlemen!” “Good afternoon,” as uttered by Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol,” was not … Continue reading

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Proofreading at 60 mph

Published Jan. 7, 2008 A friend told me once that perfect pitch is a curse. He knew someone with perfect pitch, the ability in music to know a note’s name by hearing the note and to hear the slightest problem … Continue reading

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Published Dec. 28, 2004 Many means of prophesy have arisen from the quest for foresight over the millennia, and the newspaper publishes two: horoscopes and the weather. Many people know of two others: crystal gazing, called crystalomancy or scrying, from … Continue reading

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